Betancourt slams Brewers past Mariners 10-5

TIM BOOTH (AP Sports Writer)
The Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) -- Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke has always believed it's a good idea to put in the lineup a player returning to where he once played.

Yuniesky Betancourt proved his belief right again on Friday night.

Betancourt highlighted Milwaukee's five-run fifth inning with his second grand slam of the season, and the Brewers beat the Seattle Mariners 10-5.

''I think it's good. I think it makes a difference,'' Roenicke said. ''I think the adrenaline there is different.''

Once the Mariners starting shortstop, Betancourt came back to haunt his former club as the teams opened a three-game series. Betancourt's slam was his 13th homer of the season and he enjoyed every second of going deep against his former team. Betancourt drove the pitch from Joe Saunders out to left, walking and watching as he left the batter's box, then flipped his bat before excitedly running the bases. It was his sixth career grand slam.

''I feel a little more excited,'' Betancourt said of his return to Seattle. ''I have good memories of here, for the people here.''

Norichika Aoki also drove in three runs as the Brewers scored 10 runs for the first time since June 12.

While the Brewers were knocking around Seattle's pitchers, Kyle Lohse was putting in another strong performance. Lohse (8-7) won for the seventh time in his last eight decisions, holding the Mariners to three runs in seven innings. Kyle Seager had a two-run single in the third for Seattle, but Lohse pitched out of trouble in the third, fifth and seventh innings. Lohse has lost just once since May 30.

The Mariners big weekend honoring former star Ken Griffey Jr. with his induction into the team's Hall of Fame got off to an ugly start thanks to another sloppy defensive effort and Saunders' struggle pitching out of jams. Seattle committed three errors while Saunders was on the mound, and five of the nine runs Milwaukee scored against him were unearned.

''I don't think Joe threw the ball that bad,'' acting Seattle manager Robby Thompson said. ''He got the ground balls and then we didn't make the plays behind him.''

But Saunders (10-11) caused his own trouble the led to Betancourt's slam. Jean Segura led off the fifth with a single and Saunders issued consecutive walks to Carlos Gomez and Khris Davis to load the bases for Betancourt. Saunders then hung a 1-1 slider in the middle of the strike zone and Betancourt didn't miss. It was his second home run in 18 career games against the Mariners. Betancourt spent parts of five seasons playing in Seattle.

''I know he goes into a funk sometimes offensively, but defensively he moves around, he plays all the positions really well. He's a utility man and that's what we asked him to come here and do and he's played a lot more than we thought,'' Roenicke said.

Betancourt wasn't the only one battering Seattle pitching. Aoki had a two-run double in the third inning and added an RBI single to cap the Brewers' big fifth inning. Martin Maldonado also had a two-run double with two outs in the fourth inning.

Lohse said teammates were giving him a hard time that his bat being out of the lineup was the reason for the 10-run outburst.

''It's been a while since we scored that many early,'' Lohse said. ''It was kind of nice for myself to relax a little bit out there on the mound.''

Roenicke wasn't around to see Betancourt's slam after getting ejected by home plate umpire Dan Bellino in the fourth inning. Betancourt's one-out grounder bounced off Seager's glove for his second error of the night and rolled into foul territory down the left-field line. Gomez scored from first on the play, but Thompson claimed a fan touched the ball.

The umpires met and agreed with Thompson, sending Gomez back to third base. That brought out Roenicke, who argued that Gomez should still have been awarded home plate. After a few minutes, Roenicke was ejected, the second time this year Roenicke has been tossed.

The argument became moot as Jeff Bianchi followed with a bloop single to score Gomez and give the Brewers a 3-2 lead.

''I stayed out too long. I should have been kicked out,'' Roenicke said. ''I just told him he took the easy road out. ... I stayed out there too long because I really felt I was right.''

Notes: Justin Smoak hit his 12th homer of the season, a two-run shot, in the eighth inning for Seattle. ... Griffey took part in a luncheon and met with the media on Friday. He'll be formally inducted to the team Hall of Fame on Saturday. ... Milwaukee 2B Rickie Weeks will miss the rest of the season after an MRI revealed a torn left hamstring. Weeks was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Thursday. ... Friday was Milwaukee's first game in Seattle since 1997.

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